tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC November 23, 2011 9:00am-10:00am PST
>> we're going toget right to my interview with grover norquist. first, my panel throughout the hour today is elise jordan, ezra klein, ben smith, and joy ann reid. many democrats say the failure of the super committee rests on the shoulders of one man, grover norquist. he and his organization tax americans for tax reform holds signed pledges from 279 current senators and representatives opposing any tax increases for individuals and businesses. grover norquist has been called the most powerful man in america by alan simpson. he joins me now. thank you, mr. norquist, for coming on the show. >> sure, delighted to be with you. >> your tax pledge was singled out by the president yesterday. you've deferred speculation that you may, in fact, control the universe saying the real power behind your pledge lies with the american public.
that said, recent polls from cnn, bloomberg, the washington post and gallup find that 7 in 10 americans oppose hiring taxes. >> well, the taxpayer protection pledge is signed -- it's a written commitment by a candidate for office, house or senate. also at the governor level and state legislature level. two, they're voters, if you elect them, they won't raise your taxes, they will not do anything to raise net tax revenue. you can have a tax reform, but not a tax increase. it's a public commitment to voters. and i think it's a good idea that people keep their public commitments. if somebody wants their taxes raised, then you should vote for the candidate who's in favor of tax increases, not for the candidate who won't raise taxes. >> do you think they're ill-served by signing a pledge that most americans don't want them to sign?
>> well, we've actually had several elections and for the last 15 years, people have been electing a majority of the house of representatives, and many senators, because they have made just that commitment. a poll can be asked in many ways, an election is a real question of where people are. and elected officials should keep their word to voters. they shouldn't say one thing and do another when they get into office. they shouldn't change their mind and betray the voters' confidence in them. the great thing about the pledge is it's a public commitment. there are lots of commitments that politicians make to special interest on the side. that's how we have the problems we have with government workers' pensions. people made private promises that the public didn't know about and certainly can't afford. i'm in favor of candidates for office being very public about what it is that they will and won't do if elected. >> i want to move on to a little bit more of the philosophy of
grover norquist. you wrote this week in "the guardian," i think the tax battle is for the soul of america. and i'm wondering if you think framing the debate further deepens the divide in the parties. our government only functions through compromise, and if there's no room for that, how do you propose the government function when faith in congress is at an all-time low. >> what you have in washington, d.c. now are two political parties, two tendencies that are trying to move in very different directions. president obama said that he would veto any tax reform that didn't raise taxes by $1.5 trillion. he has a very big line in the sand. he wants higher taxes. he's drama clip increased government spending over the last three years and he wants to protect that higher level of spending. and most democrats are supporting president obama in both the higher taxes and higher spending commitments that he's put forward.
the republicans, at least since the tea party and after george bush are both committed to not raising taxes, but also reining in spending. if somebody wants to move west and somebody wants to move east, what's the compromise? the two parties are trying to do very different things. president obama and the democrats want a larger government with higher taxes to pay for it, the republicans are looking to reduce taxes and have a less expensive government. those are talking about moving in different directions, not moving in the same direction at different speeds. so you're going to have conflict and that's what elections are for. >> i guess i just wonder if that's in service of the minorities rather than the majorities, the east/west argument. we do have to come to the center at some point. and i'm going to open this up to our panel in a second. i want to ask you one more thing among others. in your interview earlier this week with '60 minutes" you said the social safety net programs including unemployment, welfare,
social security, and medicare should be replaced by individual initiative. and i wanted to sort of dig a little dealer there. what do you mean by individual initiative? >> well, depends on what -- some government programs are not a good idea. the davis/bacon law is a bad idea. it was put in to prevent workers from getting government contracts. that law's still in place. that is not a useful law, not a good program, it should be abolished. there are other programs that try and do something useful. social security to make sure people have enough money saved for when they're older. the question is, would you be better off if your fica taxes were put in a 401(k) an individual retirement account that you control rather than handed to the government? and if you look at how people would've done who are retiring today and in the future, if their fica taxes had been put in a 401(k), even with the markets going up and down, they'd be significantly better off. and young people today, even more better off than under the
present social security system. so, some of the programs the government's put forward could be done much better, not through the government, but individually. same thing with mailing letters and putting things, packages through the post office. fedex and u.p.s. do a better job. >> so it sounds like you're opening the door to some things the government should do in terms of the social safety net. >> yes. i'm not arguing for no government. i'm arguing for a less expensive government. and for a government that asks every day is what we're doing today necessary? is it useful? was it once a good idea but maybe now it's not a good idea? some things that once made a lot of sense or you didn't think there was any other way to do can now be done by individuals rather than through the bulky inefficient federal government. so, yes, let's have a smaller, leaner, more competent government, both at the federal level, but also at the state and local level, as well.
>> i wanted to open it up to our panel right now. everybody's chomping at the bit to ask you more questions. i'll start with you, ezra. >> hi, grover. i take your point completely on the publicness of the pledge. the candidates who sign it, that is on them, not to you. what i'm curious about, though, is whether or not it's worked too well. it seems it has gotten the republicans in a position to where they've said no to multiple different compromises. if they get to december of 2012 and they're saying -- and this is an unpopular position that they would rather let all of them expire than let those for the upper income taxpayers expire, the outcome of that could be a tax increase of $3.8 trillion, not $800 billion. and it would be in a sense because of the pledge. because in being so penny wise on taxes, it became pound foolish. do you look at that with any sort of threat or concern? >> well, two thoughts on that.
one, that's exactly the situation we were in one year ago. and democratic house and a democratic senate and a democratic president voted to extend all of the 2001, 2003 tax cuts for a two-year period. so we have been through that before. the next time we answer this question in addition to republican house of representatives will probably have the republican senate, and there's a good chance we'll have a republican president. >> but not yet, right? because the election won't -- there won't have been an inauguration yet. >> correct. at the end of the day, i believe those tax rates will be extended. that, unfortunately, was never on the table as far as the democrats were concerned on this super committee. it was put forward as an idea of some of the republicans, but the democrats said we'll think about it and the next morning they said heck no. so it -- it's sort of like a
unicorn. it didn't exist in the real world. >> ben smith? >> grover, i'm curious, i feel like we've been seeing a ton of you lately. you were on "60 minutes" the other night, you're here. i'm curious if you're running for office and whether you worry about the target you're getting on your back. you used to be washington famous, you're becoming famous, and often that does not end so well for people in washington. >> and it's alex, i want to cut in there too. how does it feel to have -- the president wasn't name checking you, but name checking the pledge. to the question of the national stage, how does that feel? >> well, i mean, my job is to try and work with taxpayer groups and with members of congress to keep taxes down, the government from getting too big. and i've been doing this for 25 years or so. and it's true that the issue's gotten higher profile as the
spending interest really thought they were going to get $1 trillion tax increase out of this deal. they thought they were going to get $2 trillion out of the deal when we started this process a year ago. with simpson/bowles and so on. so there are a lot of spending interests in washington, d.c. that are very unhappy that they're not going to get $1 trillion or $2 trillion in higher taxes for more spending. and some of them have decided to blame me, which is silly except that it's true that i guess it's a focal point. who has made the pledge, and who is for raising taxes, and as a result, they've been electing people who take the pledge. i understand that the special interests and the spending groups are very unhappy and with me personally, but i have a fairly thick skin. >> and are you considering running for office one of these days yourself? >> no, i don't think so. i used to live in massachusetts, and i now live in washington, d.c. and if i ran, i would probably
run as a republican. so i think that's probably not where i'm going to be spending my time and energies. >> grover, we will be back with more questions about your potential candidacies on various levels after the break. stay with us. we'll have more on "now" next. >> sure. i'd race down that hill without a helmet. i took some steep risks in my teens. i'd never ride without one now. and since my doctor prescribed lipitor, i won't go without it for my high cholesterol and my risk of heart attack. why kid myself? diet and exercise weren't lowering my cholesterol enough. now i'm eating healthier, exercising more, taking lipitor. numbers don't lie. my cholesterol's stayed down. lipitor is fda approved to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients who have heart disease or risk factors for heart disease.
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we are back with grover norquist who alan simpson has called the most powerful man in america. who is answering some questions with us today on "now." mr. norquist, thank you again for taking the time out of your thanksgiving holiday. >> sure. >> so one of the things i did want to touch on was the op-ed you wrote in "the guardian" a while ago that suggested that
republicans could sort of redistrict a lot of the swing states to stack the decks for republicans. and i have to say when i first read it, i thought that seems like compromising a foundational democratic principle of the united states and doesn't that threaten our two-party system. >> well, under present law today, maine and nebraska allocate their electoral votes by congressional district. when your congressional district votes for one candidate, that candidate gets the electoral votes and then whoever carries the whole state gets two votes. those were put forward by ed musky in maine and signed by governor ben nelson, democrat of nebraska. so this was an idea put forward by the democratic party for many years. it now may be enacted in se pennsylvania and some other states, which would not allow people to manufacture votes in
philadelphia and capture the entire electoral college of pennsylvania. it would actually go by congressional district. it makes voter fraud a lot less valuable. it doesn't stop it, it just makes it, you only get to steal two votes for the whole state rather than 20 if there was voter fraud which i'm assured there isn't, so i'm sure no democrats will mind if we make it less valuable. >> this is joy reid. i just have a question. it seems like what a lot of your philosophy is about is people in your income class really not simply wanting to pay taxes if you boil it down. you've made an organization into it. it's people who don't want to pay taxes for services that benefit people of lower classes. isn't this about grover norquist does not like paying taxes because you don't use the post office, so it's not necessary to you. >> no. i know that's sort of the left wing critique that somehow the
government is robin hood. in point of fact today, the average private sector worker earns $60,000 a year if you count pay, pension, and benefits throughout the whole package. state and local workers earn $80,000 a year, and federal workers earn $120,000 a year. >> so is your point -- those people by and large are of the class that want to increase taxes on millionaires. it's the millionaires themselves that want to pay lower taxes, right? >> well, actually if you ask voters on issues like the death tax, which only hit a few people, you get strong majority, 70% support, who think it's unfair to tax people again on income they've already taxed once. but the idea that somehow the government is some sort of charity, again, when you tax people in the private sector and hire government workers at the state level and the federal level, the government is transferring money from lower
income people to higher income people. and we've certainly seen in solyndra and so on that the federal government when it does corporate welfare doesn't give it to poor people it's nice to say let's have a big government, we'll help poor people. when you give them all that money, that's not what they do with it. >> mr. norquist. thank you again for taking some time to chat with us. we hope we can get you back on the program to go into even greater details about your taxes and beyond. and have a wonderful thanksgiving weekend. >> you too. >> coming up next, newt gingrich continues to rise and takes a spotlight at the gop debate last night. that's coming up on "now." ♪ ♪ ♪ when the things that you need ♪ ♪ come at just the right speed, that's logistics. ♪ ♪ medicine that can't wait legal briefs there by eight, ♪ ♪ that's logistics. ♪
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11th debate last night. the focus, national security and foreign policy. but it was new and emergent front-runner newt gingrich who raised conservative eyebrows by defending long-term, undocumented residents. >> if you've been here 25 years and you have three kids and two grand kids, you've been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, i don't think we're going to separate you from your family, uproot you and kick you out. >> okay. i heard that and was like, wait, what did he say? and had to rewind my tivo. >> i am fascinated by what counts as defending immigrants in a republican debate. his solution, which is called the red card plan. and it's been out there for a while. is to create a second class of documented workers who can never have citizenship. their children are not citizens, get much less in benefits. it creates a second class in -- in the republicans --
>> this is also a field of contenders, one of whom has said we should have an electrified border fence. humanity on the basic level is -- >> i think newt is thinking a long game. and it would help him if he got the nomination to have a more hospitable stance on immigration. as always, newt tends to be opportunistic, i agree with george will who called him a retail politician, and i think this is kind of another example of how newt is going to go with what's most advantageous for him. >> if he were the nominee, this is not a position that will make him friends in the hispanic community. on the other hand, if mitt romney's the nominee, it is something that the republicans would use to beat romney up. it was a best-case for the dnc. they're already making the most of it. >> what are you making the difference between gingrich handled the immigration question and perry who as we know in an earlier debate accused those of not having a heart if you didn't support -- not amnesty, but the
dream act for undocumented children of illegal immigrants? >> gingrich had more to say, but, you know, they're coming from the same wing of the party, the same place george w. bush was coming from, which is the business wing which is, you know, basically think it's utterly impractical to go around deporting people, and there's some type of path to citizenship. >> it also shows that newt gingrich thinks he's too smart. he thinks he's smarter than everyone else and he can get away with positions that most wouldn't. expressing any path on immigration is deadly for his campaign but he thinks he can get away with it because he's such an intellectual. it goes with newt's classist idea that we'll let the poor kids clean the schools, create this second tier of immigrants and everything will be fine. and he thinks he can get away with it because he's an intellectual. >> in terms of the field broadly in the way that immigration has been handled, does newt's -- i
guess we'll call it inconsistency hurt the rest of the field? >> i don't know if it's exactly helpful, but i -- but i -- he -- i personally am for a more george w. bush approach when it comes to immigration. >> which is almost, i would say, a democratic approach. >> which is not going to help republicans -- a primary candidate. but i think that newt has peaked way too early in terms of getting the nomination. he's getting his moment like so many others have had their moment too. >> i agree with that. but i want to pose a secondary question. romney has yet to stumble in a debate. he has yet to make a mistake. he's yet to have -- >> and his first name is mitt. >> he has yet to have a good ad released in the field against him. given he's yet to pick up a single voter from the collapses of rick perry, herman cain, i'm going to predict the eventual collapse of newt gingrich. if he gets that stumble, which will come at the wrong time.
if he gets good ads from every other candidate in the field at the wrong time, i'm wondering if romney hasn't peaked too early. >> he's that front -- >> he'll be one stumble in the 14% -- >> he's the flower you get from the flower store and it's opened a little and you think it's going to blossom and it stays at half sort of -- >> i've had that happen so many times. >> exactly. >> can we talk about romney and huntsman a little bit? i know there was -- we have some sound from the debate where huntsman sort of takes on romney in afghanistan. and a lot of folks think it was huntsman's finest debate performance yet. let's listen to that. >> are you suggesting, governor, we take our troops out next week. >> did you hear what i just said? i said we should draw down from 100,000. we don't need 100,000 troops, many of whom can't cross the wire. we need a presence on the ground that is more akin to 10,000 or 15,000. >> boom. jon huntsman. >> yeah, he really woke up for
the first time this debate, and this simultaneously his father or somebody else has spent $1 million on television ads boosting him in new hampshire. this is kind of to the extent he's surged to 9% in new hampshire. this is his moment. >> it was foreign policy, it s wwas his time to shine. he knows his stuff more than any of the other candidates. >> nobody puts huntsman in the corner. we will talk about all of these issues and more half the break. a roof over your head, car in the garage, but struggling to make ends meet. we have a new picture of poverty in our country and that will be next on "now." [ coughs ] what is this shorty? uh, tissues sir, i'm sick. you don't cough, you don't show defeat. give me your war face! raaah! [ male announcer ] halls. a pep talk in every drop. tried to deep-fat-fry their turkey.
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ben, you were making a point during the break about romney potentially faltering and if that could happen. >> i was stealing ezra's point, but there's a ton of -- i mean, nobody has put on air the things we all take for granted that we've seen a thousand times of romney yelling at ted kennedy about how pro-choice he is, things like this. there's great video -- >> yelling at ted kennedy saying i am pro-choice. >> defending his pro-choice credentials so the death in massachusetts debates. rick perry has tons of money. at some point we're going to see to what extent new hampshire voters know this and see this and are going to be revolted by it. there is a sense in which romney still hasn't been tested. he's not been tested as people blow up around him, there'll be nobody left. >> if he falls, where else would it go? that's the problem with this field. you could do the same thing for newt gingrich. he worked with freddie mac, he toured around with nancy pelosi at one point. >> there's the ad with --
>> right. >> there's no one left. >> this is what's so weird. it doesn't need to go anywhere. mitt romney feels like to everybody like the overwhelming front-runner. from the way i would handicap the race, you would think he's at 65% in the polls, he's not, he's at third place in a lot of the polls. if he gets a little hurricane rita at the wrong moment, a 5% moment because the wrong ad comes out and touches a chord in iowa. and whoever it is, whoever it might be has a good night in iowa, then momentum takes over and maybe romney wins in south carolina, but maybe wins in new hampshire and loses south carolina and gets away from him because it's a lot of anti-romney sentiment in the party. i don't think it's likely, but i'm no longer willing to rule it out. >> i feel like it's not even all that late. >> that's why i don't think he's that vulnerable because it's all been hashed over for so many years. he's been running for president for what? six years? and so conservatives have their reasons for being dissatisfied with romney.
and let's court chris christie. who would be better? and they end up going back to romney. and i think he's tested. >> and there's less anti-romney sentiment than you think. he is the lowest negative. >> but do you know his problem, though? you need intensity in order to win reelection. it's the same issue for barack obama. he's got his base, but he needs intensity, turnout. where's the intensity? >> but the anti-obama intensity is going to maybe be -- >> he's shown himself so presidential at all these debates, knows his stuff, he's studious, put in his time and looks prepared, dramatic contrast to so many others. >> he's been a straight "a" student. and michele bauchmann last night, she was showing her chops from the intelligence committee on -- let's run the clip of her basically schooling rick perry on pakistan. >> the obama policy of keeping your fingers crossed is not working in pakistan. and i also think that pakistan is a nation that -- it's kind of
like too nuclear to fail. we've got to make sure we take that threat very seriously. >> i'm so excited by too nuclear to fail. >> it's a lot from the -- >> can we talk about michele bauchmann a little bit? this is someone who obviously was ridinge ining short, and do give her any kind of currency? showing that she has more of a grasp on foreign policy than previously thought? >> the base current care. >> i found her impressive. and i think what she did. that question about pakistan in the debate with rick perry is going to be an overarching foreign policy question until the election. do we need pakistan? who needs each other -- needs the other more? >> but do you think the base is the going to really focus? >> i don't think that's what the republican base is interested in right now. they care more about the issues with spending, the issue about washington -- they're more on a
domestic vibe right now. i don't think they care. >> in western iowa, there's this church-base network of voters who are going to go for somebody, if michele bauchmann feels like she's the most serious person of the people playing for that vote, rick perry was really -- the theory was rick perry would lock that up. like somebody's going to get those votes, santorum -- it could be her. >> herman cain. >> herman cain could get those votes, but there's a path for her to win -- >> one weird thing with bauchmann, i think, she had that moment, but she never blew up. she just sort of faded as people like herman cain and newt gingrich -- it wasn't like they blew up. so one thing i think could make her potent in iowa is there's not -- she's not being disqualified in the minds of voters, she hasn't become the flavor of the week yet. if she becomes a flavor in the week in the right week -- >> she has to bloom on time. >> she has to bloom on time. ♪
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than owners of any traditional mattress brand... to learn more, or find an authorized retailer near you visit tempur-pedic.com. tempur-pedic the most highly recommended bed in america. the census department has given us a lot to think about when we give thanks tomorrow. the new measure of poverty called the supplemental poverty measure says 1 in 3 americans live in or near poverty. among the criteria, the new methodology accounts for is payroll taxes paid, government benefits received, rising standards of living, and cost of living differences. i found this jarring to say the least. the idea that 1 in 3 americans lives near poverty. but i know there's been a lot of discussion and debate over what near poverty means. because in many cases, near poverty means you have a tv, you may have a cell phone, but
you're living sort of at the brink of being broke. >> the near poverty, the actual definition is within 50% of the poverty line. so 0% to 100% of poverty, you're in poverty. 100% to 150%, you're near poverty. and there are folks at the heritage foundation that will say, well, these folks they have televisions, might have a blackberry, they're not poor. and the point isn't that they're poor, the point isn't that in america the richest country on the earth besid-- they are one shock of falling into poverty, they're right on the precipice, and right now there are a ton of them. >> and i wonder, you guys, how you think this informs the debate we're having, the raging debate over the role of government in public life. do you think this sort of gives fuel to either side? >> yeah, i think it absolutely gives fuel to the side that's on the side of the "99%."
because people even feel poorer. the idea that you're one paycheck away from being broke, one health problem. it's frightening for a lot of people. wages have not gone up. we see the real income of rich people continue to rise in the recession. and people do feel there's about unfairness. when you have republicans argue we can't touch the tax breaks for the rich, it really just rings such a sour note to the vast majority of people saying this is unfair. >> i think it's becoming politicized right now. this isn't a new topic, poverty in america. i'm from mississippi and i'm a little surprised how it's kind of like a sudden seize, oh, how can we use this for political gain? there are plenty of people in red state america who have been living in near poverty for quite some time. i do think the numbers -- >> the numbers according to these new measurements, 1 in 3 -- >> i don't know why nobody ever discusses poverty. i know people at my institution and the guy who did this report in the "new york times," write
about poverty all the time, the numbers have spiked up. we've been trying for years. health care was a big -- >> that's part of the picture. afz we have sort of policy debate, the human side of it, i think, is very much overlooked. and i think it frames the debate in a way i don't think it's been framed on the national stage. >> a lot of the outrage has come because middle class, upper middle class people have felt it. the very rich felt it for the first -- not the first time, but in a way that they hadn't in previous decades. and so you look at the movement and you look at who is -- who's -- who has the leisure time to protest. and i think it's in dramatic contrast from the working poor and the people that they're describing -- >> they are two separate things. >> i'm talking -- >> occupy wall street. >> yes. i do think democrats have -- when people talk about poverty, democrats are afraid of talking about poverty because it brings in all of these stereotypes. reads to people in the middle
class as we're going to take your money and give it to people. the phrase working poor, you hear democrats talking about working poor, they're trying to do the same thing, trying to say they're not the stereotyped free loaders of the '80s. this is a different set of policies that could help you and people you know. i think this this is part of that conversation. >> i think it's worth measuring that the demographics of the near poor. they're older, whiter, and more suburban than we ever thought. >> it brings in too. there's always been sort of a moral thing on the right that people who are wealthy are the job creators. they're somehow morally superior to the poor who are the free riders, free loaders. i think it's harder to sell that kind of argument when normal, middle class people feel they are poorer. >> and many of them have jobs. >> and they're working. >> the level of poverty, 1 in 3 americans, is not just a problem for the poor and near poor, consumer spending in this country is 60% to 70% of
economic demand. when that many people are that close to falling into poverty when they have to save, be afraid, skip going out, skip going to dinner, that takes economic demand out of the economy and part of what's keeping us from having a recovery. so many people who are poor, near poor, or just worried about becoming near poor, we are not having the type of consumer spending that would get us out of this deep economic hole we're in. this is a problem not just for the 99%, but also the 1%. >> and the effect that government programs have. the cost of health care that is the thing that almost tips the scales of people be in or near poverty. >> quite a few, yeah. >> and as we have the debate over social safety net programs, it's important to keep that in mind. how did one firm lose $1 billion? we'll ask that question next on "now." with the capital one venture card
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ms global is the eighth biggest bankruptcy in u.s. history. and congress wants jon corzine to testify about what happened to what is now believed to be more than $1 billion of missing client money. when i heard this, first of all, the estimates were mf global had lost $600 million, the estimates keep going up, $1.2, then it's $1.6 million. >> you have to understand how big his couch is, money falls out -- >> millions in that. >> yeah, he's like a cartoon villain. he worked for goldman sachs, if you go down to the occupy mutual, they think everybody in the obama administration works for goldman sachs, that's the evil empire. he threw away the governorship of new jersey, made way for chris christie, this is a mess, but it's also indicative of how out of control the whole wall street sort of thing is. people are literally throwing around and playing with people's money.
it's like a casino. >> this is the opposite of a bailout. this is guy that took a risk and is paying for it. >> a questionable risk that may have been a criminal risk. >> these are grown-ups taking money from people with a lot of money who made a bad bet. you know, there is a story about -- an amazing story about corzine, a guy, you know, people are sympathetic to him say he has this unbelievable tolerance for risk. you saw him as governor of new jersey getting in this horrible car wreck when he didn't have a seat belt on. and the way he ran the state -- >> not wearing a seat belt, though, is that akin to losing -- >> this is like driving 115 miles per hour -- >> there are legendary stories like goldman sachs where he was one of the head guys watching these trades go down and down and down and keeping them long past anyone else would. and now he's not being proven right anymore. >> that's the point of risk. >> this was not a systemically important institution, this was not too big to fail. this is something where sophisticated investors, most people don't know what mf global is.
put money into a hedge fund that promised high returns and lost. and that's it. and it's going down, but you've not seen a massive ripple effect in the american economy. it's bad they lost $1 billion, maybe it is worth an investigation, but this is not a -- this doesn't have broad implications for financial sector, i don't believe. >> you don't think the culture of impunity, the lessons of 2008 should've sort of trickled down -- >> the guy got wiped out. that's punitive. >> the financial system, it's not that risk taking. we'd in some ways be in much better shape if banks were lending out a lot more money, taking more risks. if anything, they're overly cautious right now. which might be a smart move. that's pretty much what happened to them. it's bad for the economy that they're hoarding the money to the degree they are. >> so there is case -- for jon corzine for treasury secretary after all. >> he was counting on a bailout in europe and it didn't happen quickly enough. it's not -- he -- and he lost a ton of money because of it. but just the philosophy of the government should bail out banks that are too big to fail, i think we've shown how hollow
that is. >> yeah, but isn't -- i know you're saying that the implications aren't the same in terms of sort of the classist message here. the rich guys screwing around and leaving the guys at the bottom with the bill is not what happened here. but i do think there's something to be said for the culture of the financial services industry. the risk-taking, the sense -- and i know you think jon corzine is getting his punity. >> i don't like bailing out too big to fail -- we would be in much worse shape without t.a.r.p. the reason he's in the news is we didn't have a ton of banks going down. the banking sector broadly has cut its exposure to europe dramatically. corzine was trying to play that. he was wrong, and that's fine, he's now humiliated, he might have to testify on whether or not he's going to jail on this. it doesn't seem to me -- i would be careful about taking a broad conclusion about wall street from this. >> you think it's a bad day --
>> i don't think mf global's problem is wall street's problem. >> the biggest issue is we don't want banks playing with money that way, consumers' money. >> well, the european sovereign debt especially in greece and ireland and -- >> and now we have -- >> let's move on to another hot topic. congressman barney frank says the super committee's failure is good news for democrats because it will help end the bush-era tax cuts, something our friend ezra klein alluded to earlier today. meanwhile, newt gingrich called the failure good for america. which side should be popping bottles right now? >> i'm happy to -- >> absolutely. >> there's a dual trigger set up in the budget landscape. one is the spending trigger, and it's incredibly progressive because in a way republicans kept tax increases out of it is to say it would hit the
pentagon. an agreement. there is a deal that is $3 in tax increases for every $1 in spending cuts and half of those spending cuts are more for the pentagon. those would've never gotten in any other way. >> narrator: i think the winners are people who like showdowns and are convinced their guys are going to be the ones who don't blink. >> that should never be convinced -- >> well, one of president obama's problems with the professional left if you want to call them that is they don't think he's done enough to do progressive policy. well, democrats on the left would love to have $600 billion in pentagon cuts, and they were written to expire, now it looks like they probably will. i think that's good for the liberal wing of the democratic party. >> the only exception, i don't think the obama administration will let them expire. >> they could. they will blink and they don't want it and it would be bad for
the recovery, but they could do it. and if they want to do it, the best thing to say they don't want to have it happen but couldn't get to an agreement. >> and in the history of blink-offs thus far, the democrats have been the ones to blink first. we will see if that happens again. we're moving on to our next hot topic, which abc news took a look into president obama's headquarters. as of october, the campaign had 327 staff members working to build what they call the most technologically advanced campaign ever. no word on why those kegs were then empty. will the president be able to harness the youth momentum in this year as he did in 2008? initial reports say he's having problems with the kids. >> well, you know what, people are out of work, younger people don't have necessarily the time and it's not the same kind of thing. it's not yes, we can. this is now looking at what we did. it might be a little bit harder to get the same level of enthusiasm, but at least the polling with the "wall street journal" and nbc has shown that
he's got the same level of support, it's just if intensity. >> i've seen a lot of polling about how plthey're so dissatisfied with this recession, in terms of unemployment, not being able to move out from their parents, putting off marriage, i do think there's a significant opportunity for republicans to take some of that block. >> i think there's something a little forced about that story, the keg, they're having this fun over there. they're having so much less fun than they did last time. >> there will be many empty kegs -- >> last time they were, they had a lot of fun. and it's a lot harder on the real end. >> it is, it is -- >> thank you, guys, for all joining me on the eve of the thanksgiving holiday. i wish you an extra large slice of pie. thank you for joining me on "now." that's all for us. we will be back after the thanksgiving holiday and, remember, between meals you can follow us at facebook.com/nowwithalex.
andrea mitchell reports is next. hey, alex, thanks so much. happy holidays, and coming up next on "andrea mitchell reports," alan simpson joining us to talk about the super failure. and is newt gingrich too humane for the republican base on immigration? we've got all the debate highlights. plus, new sanctions on iran and deadly clashes in egypt. and former congresswoman jane harmon. join us. pour chunky sirloin burger soup over those mashed potatoes and dinner is served. four minutes, around four bucks. campbell's chunky -- it's amazing what soup can do. 'cause i'm like a savings ninja. ok... [ male announcer ] black friday's here. deals start thursday 10 pm. but we're open all day and night so you don't have to wait outside. the only place to go on black friday. walmart. so you don't have to wait outside. ♪ ♪ ♪ when your chain of supply
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